Update: Six Months of Intuitive Eating

I’ve just passed the six month mark of intuitive eating and I couldn’t be happier. After years of macro or calorie counting (even when I wasn’t trying to lose weight), it feels so good not be constantly measuring my food and trying to figure out how to fit in food.

At first, I was struggling some with the freedom of not having to eat specific amounts of food but now I’ve settled into eating enough to be full but not stuffed. Of course, because I counted calories for so long, I have a pretty good idea of how much I’m eating versus burning on a daily basis just by eyeballing portions. So I’ve been able to maintain my weight without having to be on top of measuring my food (which hasn’t happened before).

 
10/1/17
11/1/17
12/1/17
1/1/18
4/1/18
10/11/18
Weight (lbs)
142.6
137.8
135.6
135.6
134.9
133.9
Body fat (%)
27.5
26.3
25.7
25.7
25.5
25.2
Waist (inches)
29
28.5
28.5
28.5
28.5
29
Hips (inches)
37
36.5
36
36
35.5
35.5
Thighs (inches)
20.25
20
20
20
19.75
20
Forearms (inches)
11
10.5
10.5
10.5
10.5
10.25

My weight has gone down just a little bit since I did my last round of measurements in early April, not surprising since I was at peak marathon training mileage at that time and was probably retaining some extra water. I have randomly jumped on the scale a couple times during the last six months and have seen my weight range from about 132.5 to 134 lbs. It feels really good to know that I can easily maintain my weight without obsessively measuring my intake because I haven’t been able to in the past.

One other thing that I’ve found that has gotten easier with my transition to intuitive eating is getting in a variety of vegetables. Even when I was counting macros, I didn’t really get in a variety of vegetables or many servings of vegetables in general. But once I wasn’t measuring my intake, I wanted to make a focus of getting in more vegetables on a daily basis.

So now it’s second nature for me to have a side salad for my lunch and to look for ways to add in vegetables to what I’m making (as evidenced by the recipes I’ve been sharing on the blog lately). I’m actually finding that now I have to pay attention to getting in some fruit on a daily versus when it was so easy before!

To wrap up this six month recap, I wanted to talk about a change I’m making to my workout schedule. I’ve been running five days a week for a while (probably since I started training for my first half marathon in 2015) and I’m cutting it back to four days a week. I’ll be running about 19-20 miles a week and adding in a second cross training day of weights and easy cardio.

Here’s what my workout schedule will look like going forward:

  • Monday: strength training (Triple Threat on the NTC app) and spin class

  • Tuesday: alternating 3 mile interval run or 30 minute tempo run

  • Wednesday: 3 mile easy run

  • Thursday: strength training (Better Basics on the NTC app) and easy cardio

  • Friday: Rest day (yoga)

  • Saturday: 5 mile run (pace run every three weeks)

  • Sunday: 8 mile run

I have three reasons to make this change: building muscle, injury prevention and regulating my cycle. I’ve really enjoyed the muscle that was showing during my cutting phase last winter and I’m hoping to get that back by adding in an extra strength training day. And since I’ve been running faster, I’ve noticed more soreness and I’m hoping cutting back on an easy run day for more strength training will help out with that.

And then there’s cycle regulation, which is a huge topic that I’m probably in no way qualified to talk about. But we are hoping to have a baby at some point and I’ve been off hormonal birth control since May because of this. My cycle is still regulating itself, not surprising since I was using hormones to regulate it for almost six years, but I’ve started to wonder if continuing to run five days a week while not training for a race is the best thing right now since those are pretty intense workouts compared to strength training. So I’m going to try for a couple of months to see if cutting out one run a week will help my cycle regulate.

So be on the lookout in the coming months to see how my progress is going with switching out a run day for a second cross training day while intuitive eating!


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What's my plan for Eau Claire Marathon training?

We're almost at the end of 2017 and that also means marathon training is starting soon. Like really soon. Like eight days from today. On the very first day of 2018 I will officially be training for my second marathon. Which seems so crazy to say because it feels like I just started training for Twin Cities Marathon not that long ago.

But it's already been over seven months since I started training and over two months since I ran my first marathon. So I thought I’d take some time to talk a little bit about my plan for the Eau Claire marathon is (including what my training plan is, what my nutrition will be like and what my goals are).

Training plan

Once again I'm going with one of Hal Higdon's training plans. I've used his training plans for all of my races except for my first 5k and most recent half marathon at Lake Minnetonka and they’ve always been great for me. I use the Intermediate One training plan for the Twin Cities Marathon. I did look at a couple of other training plans but I really liked the multiple 20 miler runs and marathon pace runs with Higdon’s plans. So I’m moving on up to the Intermediate Two plan, which has the marathon pace runs and three 20 miler runs. I'm looking forward to starting off my long runs in the double digits since to get up to the three 20 milers you have to start off at ten miles. Which I've been running recently and it feels really good, so I’m just backing off the mileage right now before I start training again.

I'll be using the same training paces for Eau Claire marathon as I did for Twin Cities. I know I was so close to hitting sub-5 hours at Twin Cities that I can do it with keeping at those training paces. I'm not concerned about keeping pace on the Saturday pace runs as much as slowing down on my weekday runs and Sunday long run. I've been finding myself going a lot faster on my normal runs at the moment since I'm not training for a specific pace and I'm keeping around a 10:30 average pace. So I'm really trying to use these days before I start marathon training to slow it down and get used to running at an easy pace again.

I’ll be using the Strong Curves template for my cross-training on Mondays and also going back to a regular yoga practice on Fridays. I’ve really been enjoying how Strong Curves gets me a full-body weights workout in about 30-35 minutes plus it really challenges me.

As I mentioned in a previous post so I'm hoping to make core workouts a regular part of my marathon training, after my Tuesday and Thursday runs. Especially since I’ll be doing my marathon training in the Minnesota winter, core stability is going to be really important to prevent injuries.

I’ll also be getting back on that foam rolling routine!. I found it really helpful while training for Twin Cities Marathon and then just haven't been keeping it up. So my goal would be to foam roll after every single workout whether it's strength training or running which would be six days of the week. And if I feel like I need some extra foam rolling on my rest days, I’ll be doing that too.

Nutrition

I’ll continue counting macros during marathon training. I find it really helpful to make sure I'm eating enough food in. Since I'm coming off of a cutting phase into marathon training I'm really used to eating a lower amount and that just isn't going to be  enough to fuel my runs anymore. I'm going to start off pumping up my calories to the 2,000 calorie mark with the increase coming mostly from carbs, but I’ll be increasing my fat and protein as well.

I'm also thinking about incorporating macro cycling again for my weekends so I’m fueling that long run and also recovering from it. Especially with doing a higher mileage training cycle than the last time, I want to make sure my body has enough fuel so I don’t start bonking on my long runs. I’ll keep you updated on how I chose to do that when.

Of course I'm going to continue using Nuun Hydration products and Gu gels on my training runs and in my day-to-day life. If you missed the news I am a Nuun Ambassador for 2018! I just love using their products on my long runs to give me a little bit of extra boost versus something like Gatorade. I've also recently started using their vitamins product day-to-day usually in hot water since it is mighty chilly here in Minnesota. It's a nice variation on water or tea with that extra boost of vitamins in it.

Goals

For the Eau Claire Marathon. the thing I've been saying over and over again is how I want to go sub five since I was so close at Twin Cities. In a way my big goal for Eau Claire marathon is to PR but I want bigger than a four  minute PR that going sub five hours would get me.

My A goal for the Eau Claire Marathon is to finish in 4:45 or faster. I feel like I have a really good chance of that with how well my off-season has been going. And if my training goes perfectly and race day weather is perfect I feel like I can easily hit that goal. My target pace for marathon pace workouts is a faster than what I would need to get a 4:45 so I'm building  in a buffer by training myself up to run faster but having a little bit slower of a goal time. So that if something happens at the end where I've been keeping on track perfectly and start bonking towards the end I'll still have a chance of getting that 4:45 time since my marathon pace runs were done at a 4:35 marathon pace.

It's pretty daunting to put out there that I want to run a 4:45 Marathon, which would be taking almost 20 minutes after off my marathon PR. But I feel prepared going into the second one. I gained a lot of knowledge running the Twin Cities Marathon. I know how my body reacts to marathon training and I've had time to both decrease my weight and increase my strength.

Are you starting training on New Year's Day like I am? Let me know in the comments below if you are or what your big goal races for 2018.

Cutting Month 2 Results

Another month has gone by and I’m two months into my off-season cutting, with one more month to go! I didn’t have has drastic changes this month looking at the numbers but I’m seeing changes in how clothes fit me and my running.

 
October 1
November 1
December 1
Change
Weight (lbs)
142.6
137.8
135.6
-7
Body fat (%)
27.5
26.3
25.7
-1.8
Waist (inches)
29
28.5
28.5
-0.5
Hips (inches)
37
36.5
36
-1
Thighs (inches)
20.25
20
20
-0.25
Forearms (inches)
11
10.5
10.5
-0.5

Even though I weighed in at 135.6 lbs on December 1,  looking at my daily weigh-ins I feel like I’m more in 134lb range. I’ve been weighing in between 134-134.9lbs for the last week so Friday’s weigh in was out of the norm. Of course, I was expecting it to be higher than what I”d been seeing on the scale for a couple of reasons:

  • Thursday is a double workout day for me (running and weights) and I was feeling sore from that (aka my muscles are holding onto water)

  • I had a bigger dinner Thursday night (pasta with meat sauce) which was just what I needed after a tough workout but I knew would affect the scale

But I’m so happy with the non-scale progress I’m seeing. I feel much less “squishy” and my clothes are fitting me differently. I was between size 4 and 6 in pants depending on the cut and now my size 6 pants are feeling pretty loose! Plus I’m seeing my muscles popping out more when I’m working out, especially in my legs.

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I’m also running faster, which I’m sure is a combination of getting stronger and losing weight. My average pace in September and October was around 10:50 minutes per mile and my November average pace was 10:32! I’ve also been tackling some hillier routes and it’s feeling a lot easier doing long uphills. Which will be great for the Eau Claire Marathon!

For December, I’m going to keep on with what I’m doing and see what happens. I’m thinking I’ll be closer to the 130 lb mark than I thought when I first start cutting which is exciting. Of course, December is a busy month (between a work trip and celebrating Christmas with the family) but I be able to keep on track for most of the month. And then, into marathon training and a new year!


 

Cutting Month 1 Results

My first month of cutting post-marathon is done! I’ve been backing down on my mileage, adding in more strength training and eating at a slight caloric deficit. So, how did my first month go?

Starting Measurements—October 1

Weight: 142.6 lbs

Body fat: 27.5%

Waist: 29 inches

Hips: 37 inches

Thighs: 20.25 inches

Forearms: 11 inches

Current Measurements—November 1

Weight: 137.8 lbs (4.8 lbs↓)

Body fat: 26.3% (1.2%↓)

Waist: 28.5 inches (0.5 inches↓)

Hips: 36.5 inches (0.5 inches↓)

Thighs: 20 inches (0.25 inches↓)

Forearms: 10.5 inches (0.5 inches↓)

 

I had a pretty drastic drop in weight the first week after the marathon, just over 3 lbs, which I was expecting as my body got back to normal after marathon training. I also had a bigger drop the second week (just before I went on my honeymoon) but while I was gone I wasn’t paying as close of attention to my calories. When I got back, I was up from the day we left (which I expected) but I’ve continued to see a small drop in weight since then. I might have weighed in another pound lighter if I hadn’t been on vacation (or if I had been super strict with my eating then) but the memories are more than worth it.

I’m really impressed with the changes that have happened already and how easy it’s feeling. I’m eating about 300 calories below my maintenance and was eating so much during marathon training that I was worried about my body feeling hungry during this phase. But I’ve adjusted really quickly to it and I feel like I’m eating healthier than during marathon training as I’m working on getting more volume in my food by adding in vegetables.

November will turn out a lot different from October. I’m not planning on losing almost five pounds but I’d like to get down to 135 by the end of the month.I feel like is completely reasonable based on how my weight has been moving since getting back from the honeymoon. I’m also hoping to see my hip measurement drop more too since that’s the spot where I carry most of my weight and the last place I lose weight from. I will also have a lot more consistency in November since we won’t be on vacation for two weeks!

I won’t be making any major changes to my nutrition or workouts in November. I might be having to hit the treadmill more depending on what weather comes our way in Minnesota but that’s just to be expected. I’ll also be moving on to the second phase of Strong Curves next week which will be fun to mix things up again.